Privacy watchdog warns companies that they "must do better" on cookie consent
The Information Commissioner has warned website owners that they "must try harder" to comply with new regulations that dictate how they can save cookies to people's PCs.
Using school teachers' favourite phrases in a ‘half term' report, Christopher Graham said abiding by the changes to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) is not "impossible" nor will it "kill the internet".
He added: "Many people running websites will still be thinking that implementing the law is an impossible task. But they now need to get to work. Over the last few months we've been speaking to and working with businesses and organisations that are getting on with it and setting the standard.
"My message to others is - if they can do it, why can't you?"
The changes to the PECR came into force on 26 May this year. It means that UK businesses and organisations running websites in the UK need to get consent from visitors to their websites in order to store cookies on users' computers.
However the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) gave a year's grace before saying companies and organisations had to comply. This was to let them make the necessary changes to their websites.
The privacy watchdog published guidance in May when the changes were implemented into UK law, which it has now updated.
"The guidance we've issued today builds on the advice we've already set out, and now includes specific practical examples of what compliance might look like. We're half way through the lead-in to formal enforcement of the rules," said Graham.
However he added that providing companies were making attempts to comply, when the grace period is over in May next year the ICO would be sympathetic.
But although culture minister Ed Vaizey said earlier this year in an open letter that companies didn't have to get express consent from visitors to their sites before downloading cookies, Graham was less accommodating.
He warned that if a company was deliberately flouting the new rules, the ICO would take steps to stop the abuse.
In the report he said: "...be assured that if we get complaints or have concerns then we will be checking your site, and we will take the necessary steps to ensure that you do work towards compliance."
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